Otters spotted on the banks of River Wensum in city centre

Otters spotted in the River Wensum. Picture: Ben Moore

Otters spotted in the River Wensum. Picture: Ben Moore - Credit: Archant

They are normally found living out in the Norfolk Broads far away from the hustle and bustle of the city world but now otters have been spotted along the banks of the River Wensum.

Otters spotted in the River Wensum. Picture: Ben Moore

Otters spotted in the River Wensum. Picture: Ben Moore - Credit: Archant

Ben Moore, an ecological assistant from Norwich, normally takes a walk down the River Wensum during his lunch break - this time he was joined by a surprise furry friend at Cow Tower.

He said: 'I just saw some ripples in the water and went to see what caused them. I didn't know what to expect but I was certainly not expecting an otter.

'It was surprising to see them in the city as they don't like concrete and prefer banks to bury into.'

Mr Moore has seen otters on many occasions on his travels around The Broads and countryside but as never seen one so freely in the city centre.

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He added: 'They appear to be much more confident in urban areas, especially in comparison to the countryside.

'The footpath alongside the river is very busy, especially at lunchtime with people on lunch and with houses and businesses all along but they don't get seem to get spooked so easily.'

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Otters have been on the gradual increase across the county over the past few years but this is thought to be the first time they have popped their heads above water this far up the River Wensum.

'These days otters are getting common in places like Thetford,' Mr Moore added, 'During the 1970s the numbers of otters were low due to pesticides polluting rivers, that is when the real conservation effort started.'

By the 1970s most of the otter sites in Norfolk had been deserted meaning the river systems were no longer supported by them. The banning of pesticides and legal protection of the animal have since brought back the otter to Norfolk.

This was helped by the Otter Trust releasing them into the wild between 1984 and 1997.

Otters mainly feed on fish but have been known to eat small mammals and water birds. But they are opportunistic predators and will catch food on while travelling.

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